Editorial: Republicans face tough choice in Neeper, Cupp

The Lima News

May 4, 2014

Is it time for new blood?

That is the underlining question Allen County Republicans will be answering when they go to the polls Tuesday to select their candidate for state representative in November.

There is not a lot of difference between the two people seeking the GOP nomination when it comes to the issues. Both espouse the principals the conservative wing of the Republican Party holds dear to its heart — limited government, no tax increases, the easing of regulations for businesses, and accountability for schools. When it comes to the end of the day, you would likely see them voting in the same manner.

So it has become a race of style over substance, with Cupp wearing the uniform of the old guard and Neeper fitting into the clothes of the next generation.

Cupp’s mantra casts him as an experienced public servant, the consummate professional who has held an assortment of elective offices over the course of three decades. He has been an Ohio Supreme Court justice and an appellate court judge. He’s served for eight years in the Ohio Senate and has been a county commissioner and city prosecutor. Currently, he is the chief legal counsel in the Ohio Auditor’s office.

He’ll tell you there won’t be any learning curve if voters send him to Columbus as their 4th District representative, which includes all of Allen County. His supporters have written The Lima News to trumpet his attention to detail, his knowledge of agriculture and business, and his ability to work with others.

Critics, however, will question whether Cupp is a longtime public servant or a career politician looking for one more job before retirement. Cupp answers that by noting Ohio is at a crucial time economically, and he feels his experience puts him in a great position to help a state he truly cares about.

Neeper has that fire in his belly as he’s making his first run for a statewide office. It has motivated him to campaign door-to-door in Lima, walk the streets of Delphos … go to wherever it takes to introduce himself to the public. He wants voters to see him, to question him. He wants to hear their concerns — and in his own direct, confident style — will tell them what he thinks about the issues they raise, even if it is counter to what they want to hear.

Neeper realizes he doesn’t have the experience working in Columbus held by his opponent. But he will point out he does have a keen understanding of how the decisions made in Columbus effect people back home, be it small businesses, manufacturers or schools. He says that knowledge comes from the many conversations he has had with local residents through his job as vice president of business development at Superior Credit Union, as a member of Lima City Council, and while serving on various economic development committees.

Those who have worked with Neeper give him high marks for the work he puts into obtaining an understanding of issues.

All of this makes for one of the more interesting Republican primaries in years for Allen County. While The Lima News does not endorse candidates in the Primary Election, we will tell you both Cupp and Neeper are solid candidates.

The winner will face Bo Huenke, a Democrat, in November’s General Election. Whomever voters decide to send to Columbus at that point will have big shoes to fill. Outgoing state Representative Matt Huffman, who is being sent to sidelines via term limits, provided a strong voice for Allen County in the Statehouse.

No less should be expected of the next person to serve the 4th District.